"" Writer's Wanderings: Essays on Life - R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Essays on Life - R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Otis Redding sang about it in 1965 and Aretha Franklin in 1967. Aretha even spelled it out in the chorus. Looking back I wonder if that era was the one where we began to lose what the singers/songwriters were immortalizing in song.

Our recent visit to Greenfield Village gave me food for thought when we listened to the recording that is played when you enter the schoolhouse where Henry Ford attended classes. I wish I would have written down the exact words but it referred to school being the place where morals were taught as strongly or more so than the three Rs. That certainly wouldn't fly today. The question would be whose morals will you teach? And how would you define morality?

When I went to grade school we were still allowed to say the pledge to the flag, for a time even allowed to say the Lord's Prayer and one holiday season, we were privileged to share how we all celebrated the holidays differently. It was the first time I'd heard of Hanukkah. It taught respect for other's beliefs.

While it isn't politically correct any more to have posted the Ten Commandments in any public buildings, there is a lot that can be learned about respect in those simply laid out guidelines. Respect God. Use language respectfully. Respect yourself with a day of rest and reflection. Respect your parents. Respect life and preserve it. Respect relationships. Respect other's property. Respect truth and honesty. Respect your neighbors.

One more thing about respect--you don't receive it unless you give it.

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